In the Philippines, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or PAGCOR is one of the primary agencies in charge of regulating gambling operations. Aside from being a regulator, it also operates its several casinos and VIP slot clubs in major cities of the country.
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As a legal entity, it operates under Presidential Decree 1869, a law signed by then-President Ferdinand Marcos, to consolidate all other earlier decrees signed to support the operations of the agency. Let’s take a closer look at the law that strengthens the agency.
Background of PD 1869
Before the approval of Presidential Decree 1869, the regulatory control of PAGCOR is limited. In 1976, the casinos and other gambling facilities along Dewey Blvd and other Philippine cities like Cebu, Davao, and Bacolod operate independently without an agency that oversees the operations. This was used as the primary rationale in the creation of Presidential Decree 1869 that’s envisioned as landmark gambling law to regulate the gambling industry in the country.
Setting a New Direction for PAGCOR
Presidential Decree 1869 consolidates the PD Nos. 1067-A, 1067-B, 1067-C, 1399, and 1632 and assigns all regulatory powers related to the game of chance to PAGCOR. In the declaration of the policy, the law specifies two general roles and powers to the Office as the primary agency in regulating establishments involved in gambling or games of chance.
- The law centralizes and integrates the right and authority to operate games of chance into one agency (PAGCOR) as supervised by the Government.
- It gives power to PAGCOR to operate casinos and clubs for recreation and amusement. And as part of the power to operate these gaming clubs and casinos, the revenues shall be used to fund infrastructure and socio-economic projects of the government. Furthermore, it empowers the agency to regulate the industry to specifically address and end the malpractice and corruption that are often associated with the gambling operations without the interference of the government.
How Does PD 1869 Affect the Gambling Industry
Aside from the centralization of regulatory powers, the Presidential Decree 1869 has far-reaching implications for the country’s gambling industry. For a start, this law ensures that government officials shall not be involved in the playing of casino games. Also, the prohibition to play casino games extends to players who are younger than 21 years old.
This rule on the law ensures that the vulnerable members of the society shall not be introduced to the games and the risks that come with it. And if you qualify to play, the law is clear about the conditions that you should meet. According to the law, you should have a household earning of at least Php 50,000 (or $1,000) in the previous year before you can be allowed to play in these casinos. This discourages individuals from playing and risking their life savings on the casinos.
What Does This Mean to the Online Gambling Industry?
Since its adoption, PAGCOR has consistently regulated the industry to ensure that the requirements of the law are covered and followed. Under the law, all local casinos should comply with the regulatory requirements of the agency to continue its operations. However, it’s a different thing with the online gambling environment. A careful reading of Presidential Decree 1869 suggests that this does not cover the legal and offshore online casinos that focus on the Philippine market.
Keep in mind that the primary objective of the law is to develop and create a regulatory agency for local gambling houses whether on land or online. In short, Presidential Decree 1869 does not allow the agency to regulate licensed offshore online casinos or offshore land-based casinos since these are beyond the scope of their powers and authority. This means that Filipino punters and casino players can still access and sign up for an account with licensed offshore casinos without violating this law.
Remember, that the situation is still different from online casinos that are based or operating from the Philippines. They are still not allowed under the laws. To stay safe, you should only visit land-based casinos if these are regulated by PAGCOR, and you’re at least 21 years old and qualify based on the other conditions set forth by the law.
? What’s the main purpose of the Presidential Decree 1869?
The main purpose of PD 1869 is to consolidate all earlier laws and decrees associated with the operations of PAGCOR.
? Can I still play at land-based casinos in the Philippines?
Yes. Under this law, locals can play at fully-licensed and registered casinos provided that they are at least 21 years old, not a government official, and has an income of at least Php 50,000.
❓ Does the law prohibit access to licensed offshore online casinos?
No. The law only applies to local gambling houses and does not cover the licensed offshore online casinos that accept bets from Filipino players. However, make sure you’re at least 21 years old before you can access these offshore licensed sites.